DOES BRANDING REALLY MATTER FOR SMALL BUSINESSES?

8 August 2018

That’s just for the big boys, right? It’s true, big names spend millions on their branding and know exactly why it’s crucial to their company’s success both present and future. But this doesn’t preclude a small business or sole trader from forming a brand, it’s not as difficult as you might think and you are already doing it.

Still not getting it? What if we changed the word ‘brand’ to ‘reputation’ or ‘impression’? Did the lightbulb flicker? 

Whether you know it or not you instinctively brand your business from the moment you interact with your customer. How you behave with them is how they will perceive you. That perception they have of you is your brand and was eloquently encapsulated in this quote from Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos:

 

“Your Brand is What Other People Say About You When You’re Not In The Room”.

 

Now you can see why size of business is of no importance. Customers will form an opinion of you the moment they interact with you. How long does it take to form a opinion? Varying studies quote times from as little as a 10th of a second to anything up to a minute. 7 seconds seems to be the average. Frightening isn’t it? 

So, 7 seconds to make a great first impression. Okay, you made a good impression in the first 7 seconds, does that mean it’s all over now and it’s all plain sailing from here? Sorry, no.

But think about how much more successful you could be if you were able to consistently give a good impression?

 

You Have To Work At It

This requires actively working at it till it becomes second nature. 

Think about what you want to convey about yourself. If you know you are naturally impatient in character and do nothing about it then you not only convey that you are impatient but that you don’t care that you are. If you actively work to be more patient with your customers then it will be obvious to them that you care.

You need to be clear in the impression you want to make which takes some thinking about. In the first instance you decide what you are all about: the benefits of your products/services, your target market and how you want to position yourself.

 

Positioning is a topic in its own right but to put it succinctly positioning is about “the place a brand occupies in the mind of its target audience” and more subtly it is how your products/services are distinguished from, and compared to, others’ product/services. This could translate as something as simple as ‘cheaper than but just as good’ or ‘more expensive than but worth it’. It is relative to something else. 

Once you have a clear picture of what you are all about then you need to make sure that all aspects of your business are aligned to this. It’s about applying your values to everything you do, clearly and consistently.

 

Dee Blick, author of Powerful Marketing on a Shoestring Budget for Small Businesses, has worked with many small businesses on their branding. “Branding doesn’t take shed-loads of money. It takes passion and time and thought,” she says. But you neglect your brand at your peril,” she warns. “Businesses don’t own their own brand, they are custodians of it. Perceptions can alter quickly. Brands are constantly evolving and they need a lot of tending.”

If you’ve got a business, then you’ve got a brand, whether you like it or not.

DOES BRANDING REALLY MATTER FOR SMALL BUSINESSES?

8 August 2018

That’s just for the big boys, right? It’s true, big names spend millions on their branding and know exactly why it’s crucial to their company’s success both present and future. But this doesn’t preclude a small business or sole trader from forming a brand, it’s not as difficult as you might think and you are already doing it.

Still not getting it? What if we changed the word ‘brand’ to ‘reputation’ or ‘impression’? Did the lightbulb flicker? 

Whether you know it or not you instinctively brand your business from the moment you interact with your customer. How you behave with them is how they will perceive you. That perception they have of you is your brand and was eloquently encapsulated in this quote from Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos:

 

“Your Brand is What Other People Say About You When You’re Not In The Room”.

 

Now you can see why size of business is of no importance. Customers will form an opinion of you the moment they interact with you. How long does it take to form a opinion? Varying studies quote times from as little as a 10th of a second to anything up to a minute. 7 seconds seems to be the average. Frightening isn’t it? 

So, 7 seconds to make a great first impression. Okay, you made a good impression in the first 7 seconds, does that mean it’s all over now and it’s all plain sailing from here? Sorry, no.

But think about how much more successful you could be if you were able to consistently give a good impression?

 

You Have To Work At It

This requires actively working at it till it becomes second nature. 

Think about what you want to convey about yourself. If you know you are naturally impatient in character and do nothing about it then you not only convey that you are impatient but that you don’t care that you are. If you actively work to be more patient with your customers then it will be obvious to them that you care.

You need to be clear in the impression you want to make which takes some thinking about. In the first instance you decide what you are all about: the benefits of your products/services, your target market and how you want to position yourself.

 

Positioning is a topic in its own right but to put it succinctly positioning is about “the place a brand occupies in the mind of its target audience” and more subtly it is how your products/services are distinguished from, and compared to, others’ product/services. This could translate as something as simple as ‘cheaper than but just as good’ or ‘more expensive than but worth it’. It is relative to something else. 

Once you have a clear picture of what you are all about then you need to make sure that all aspects of your business are aligned to this. It’s about applying your values to everything you do, clearly and consistently.

 

Dee Blick, author of Powerful Marketing on a Shoestring Budget for Small Businesses, has worked with many small businesses on their branding. “Branding doesn’t take shed-loads of money. It takes passion and time and thought,” she says. But you neglect your brand at your peril,” she warns. “Businesses don’t own their own brand, they are custodians of it. Perceptions can alter quickly. Brands are constantly evolving and they need a lot of tending.”

If you’ve got a business, then you’ve got a brand, whether you like it or not.